The Beatles’ ‘Love’ closes July 6. Why Ringo Starr says ‘it’s worth seeing’ while you can

For 18 years, all Cirque du Soleil needed was “Love.”

But in a few weeks, the kaleidoscopic fever dream known as “The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil” will go dark on the Las Vegas Strip.

No more skate ramps and curlicue airborne tricks to imbue “Help!” with the joviality to match the music (if not the lyrics).

No more graceful trapeze routines to the heart-fluttering “Something.”

No more venue-size bedsheet to appear out of nowhere, flap over the heads of the audience and get sucked into the vortex of the stage while the mashup of “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows” envelops your eardrums, inviting striking sensory overload.

The end of Cirque’s groundbreaking production – it was the first to feature all prerecorded music and fixate on a singular music act – is July 6. A private performance will take place July 7, and considering the opening of “Love” on June 30, 2006, attracted Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Dhani Harrison among other VIPs, odds for prestigious sightings are high.

Endings are emotionally turbulent, and for the cast, crew, creative team and fans of “Love,” this finale triggers an ache.

“To this day when I hear a Beatles song, my heart goes directly to the show,” said Kati Renaud, senior artistic director at Cirque du Soleil who has worked with “Love” for the majority of its nearly two-decade run. “I see the scenes and the dancers and the choreography. (Original director and “Love” writer) Dominic (Champagne) would say, this is a rock ‘n’ roll poem and it’s this beautiful marriage of rock and poetry.”

Why is The Beatles’ ‘Love’ closing in Las Vegas?

Rumblings of the shuttering of “Love” started two summers ago when MGM Resorts International offloaded The Mirage – home to the show and its $100 million custom-built, sonically superior 2,013-seat theater – to Hard Rock International.

Changes typically accompany acquisitions and “Love,” never the top ticket seller among Cirque’s Las Vegas ecosystem of six shows despite its devoted base, was ripe for axing.

“The Hard Rock, you would think would keep the show (because of the music connection). But no,” said Beatles icon Ringo Starr in a recent interview with USA TODAY. “Honestly, we’ve had a good run.”

The transformation from The Mirage to Hard Rock will begin July 17, when the casino-resort closes. No reservations are being accepted after July 14. The Hard Rock Las Vegas, including a 700-foot guitar-shaped hotel tower, is expected to open in spring 2027.

Officials at the Hard Rock declined to comment on the closure of “Love” or future entertainment plans when contacted by USA TODAY.

The legacy of The Beatles’ ‘Love’

A Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of Beatles songs intricately knitted by Giles Martin is the spine of the colorfully chaotic production. Not only was “Love” the first Cirque show to utilize prerecorded music but it spawned other music-based Cirque productions.

“Viva Elvis” closed in 2012 at Aria Resort & Casino after a disappointing two-year run, but “Michael Jackson ONE,” with its spiffy choreography and another heady catalog, continues to thrive at Mandalay Bay after 11 years.

“Learning to produce a show with no live music was a new world for the artistic team of Cirque,” said Renaud. “This was definitely new territory for us and Giles played such an integral part in finding solutions and being such an advocate.”

Martin told USA TODAY in 2022 that when he first began work on the soundtrack to “Love” at Abbey Road Studios in the mid-2000s, “I was vilified by people there. They’re going ‘What is George Martin’s son doing, chopping up Beatles songs?’ The whole idea sounds ridiculous, especially if you’re a purist.”

But even the most devout Beatles fanatic had to acknowledge the magic of hearing some of the band’s most familiar pieces dissected and reconstructed for “Love,” starting with the chilling harmonizing on the opening “Because” to the snippets of “In My Life” and “Penny Lane” embedded in the psychedelic bubble-isciousness during “Strawberry Fields Forever” to the jaw-dropping mashup of “Drive My Car,” “The Word” and “What You’re Doing.”

In all, the show and soundtrack contain elements from 130 Beatles recordings.

Tweaks were continual throughout the show’s existence. A facelift took place in 2016 for its decade anniversary and the nearly 17-month pandemic-related shutdown allowed for some other modifications before “Love” reopened in August 2021.

The conclusion of the Cirque show also ends the only live production anywhere in the world licensed by The Beatles’ parent company, Apple Corps.

Is there a future for The Beatles’ ‘Love’?

A modified “Love,” perhaps as a touring production or at another permanent location, has been vaguely discussed, but nothing is imminent.

“To recreate something as it was created isn’t realistic, but to be inspired by it is definitely something Cirque thrives on,” Renaud said. “Because of The Beatles’ music aspect of it, there is something quite popular and inviting in any discussions (about the show’s future).”

Starr also hopes that “Love” might live on in another form, but he isn’t bullish.

“It may happen again. But I’m making this up – there are no rumors going on. But it’s worth seeing,” he said. “We did keep the business open all this time.”

The “Love” cast of 60 includes longtimers Jimmie Cervera (as the distinctively dome-topped Dr. Robert) and Eugen Brim (as the wild-haired Father McKenzie), who left the production in 2016 but returned in February to reprise his role until the show is buried along with its name, as Eleanor Rigby would appreciate.

They and other “Love” employees have been meeting with Cirque brass to try to find other places in the company to fit their unique talents, including auditions for the “Love” dancers to potentially slide into the “Michael Jackson ONE” team, said Renaud.

As for those who might still be uncertain about whether or not to catch the show as its final dates tick down, Renaud has some motivating words.

“Someone who knows a little about Cirque who doesn’t care for Beatles music will come and see it because it’s a classic Cirque experience,” she said. “For those who are maybe avid Beatles fans, they will be thrilled because of how Giles has remastered the music and will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek moments only Beatles fans will recognize. Either group will be touched emotionally.”

{ SOURCE: USA Today }